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Early Help forms and support for professionals
The name ‘ CAF ’ has changed to Early Help Assessment. This reflects that now we are using Signs of Wellbeing, we have moved away from the structure specified in the CAF framework. We also think Early Help Assessment is easier for everyone to understand.
Early Help forms
The steps in the Early Help process are shown in the Early Help Process Flowchart (PDF, 155KB).
IMPORTANT – Please note: The Early Help forms changed from Monday 19 November so they are fully in line with Signs of Wellbeing.
Only the new paper forms below will be accepted by Early Help Brokerage after 19 November.
Completed Early Help forms, including direct work with children and young people, should be sent to the Early Help Brokerage Team at email@example.com
If you have no access to secure email please use Egress
Early Help guidance
There is guidance included within the form below on how to complete each section of the form.
If you would like more information about Signs of Safety or Wellbeing please see the Signs of Safety page on the LSCB website. If you have any questions you can contact us at SignsofSafety@cheshireeast.gov.uk
Professionals may also want to refer to the multi-agency guidance on thresholds of need (PDF, 1.5MB) and levels of need poster (PDF, 6MB) on the LSCB website.
When discussing consent and information sharing with children, young people and their families, practitioners should advise them that the form will be stored centrally and securely.
Please see the section below on consent for more information.
Practitioners completing Early Help forms should keep the original signed copies in a secure place, following their own agency procedures. If you will be sending it in to us electronically, please write "signed copy on case file" on the signature line(s).
Arrangements with other Local Authorities
Every Local Authority has its own arrangements for early help assessments; some use CAF others use different assessments – but they are all fairly similar. It has been agreed across the North West authorities that each LA will accept another authorities forms. So for example if a child lives in Middlewich but attends a school in Winsford (Cheshire West) and some one from the school starts a CAF using the Cheshire West forms, we in Cheshire East will accept those documents. Similarly if a SENCO at a school in Wilmslow wishes to do an Early Help assessment for a child resident in Cheadle (Stockport) who attends Wilmslow school then Stockport would accept the Cheshire East paperwork.
A selection of Early Help assessments and plans will be audited every other month by representatives from a range of agencies. Best practice will be shared in training and with the LSCB .
All Early Help records are stored securely in the Children's Services case management system.